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Wisconsin hospital recognized for Black maternal health efforts

todayApril 11, 2024

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Wisconsin hospital recognized for Black maternal health efforts
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During Black Maternal Health Week 2024, U.S. News & World Report honored a single hospital in Wisconsin for its dedication to supporting Black maternal health – Aurora Medical Center in Grafton. The recognition highlights the facility’s efforts in providing high-quality care and addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes for Black women, especially crucial given Wisconsin’s persistent challenges in this area.

Wisconsin has consistently ranked among the worst states in the nation for racial disparities in infant mortality rates. From 2019-2021, Black infants in Wisconsin were three times more likely to die before their first birthday compared to white infants. A 2020 study found that Wisconsin had the worst Black infant mortality rate in the U.S. among 36 states and the District of Columbia. Despite a decrease in the U.S. Black infant mortality rate from 1979-1981 to 1999-2001, Wisconsin’s rate only declined by 12.4% in that period, causing the state’s rank to fall from 3rd best to 32nd out of 34 states for Black infant mortality.

Furthermore, the pregnancy-related mortality ratio for non-Hispanic Black birthing people in Wisconsin was nearly 2.5 times higher than for non-Hispanic White birthing people from 2011-2015. Experts attribute these persistent disparities to the impacts of interpersonal and systemic racism on Black women’s health.

In this context, the Wisconsin hospital’s recognition by U.S. News & World Report is particularly significant. The hospital, which was previously recognized as high-performing in the Best Hospitals for Maternity Care rankings, serves at least 20 Black patients per year and has consistently maintained low rates of cesarean sections and unexpected newborn complications among this population.

U.S. News & World Report identified 26 hospitals across 13 states that have achieved excellent outcomes for Black patients undergoing cesarean sections and unexpected newborn complications. Jennifer Winston, Ph.D., a health data scientist at U.S. News, emphasized the significance of this recognition in the ongoing effort to promote health equity and support women’s access to maternity care.

The 26 high-performing hospitals include:

  • Allina Health United Hospital (Saint Paul, MN)
  • Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (Colton, CA)
  • Atrium Health Pineville (Charlotte, NC)
  • Aurora Medical Center-Grafton (Grafton, WI)
  • Bakersfield Memorial Hospital (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Bethesda North Hospital (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Capital Health Medical Center-Hopewell (Pennington, NJ)
  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (Roanoke, VA)
  • Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital (Wyandotte, MI)
  • Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center (Hillsboro, OR)
  • Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center (Lakeland, FL)
  • Methodist Hospital of Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)
  • Miami Valley Hospital (Dayton, OH)
  • Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center (Winston-Salem, NC)
  • Novant Health Matthews Medical Center (Matthews, NC)
  • Overlook Medical Center (Summit, NJ)
  • Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (Pomona, CA)
  • Saint Francis Hospital-Tulsa (Tulsa, OK)
  • Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital (Charlottesville, VA)
  • St. Catherine Hospital-East Chicago (East Chicago, IN)
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center (Antioch, CA)
  • UNC REX Hospital (Raleigh, NC)
  • UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital (Camden, NJ)
  • WakeMed Cary Hospital (Cary, NC)
  • WakeMed Raleigh Campus (Raleigh, NC)

Black Maternal Health Week, an annual observance founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), aims to raise awareness about Black women’s maternal health disparities and advocate for solutions to address these issues. As Wisconsin continues to grapple with the challenges of ensuring equitable healthcare for all, the recognition of this hospital serves as a reminder of the progress being made and the work that still needs to be done to improve maternal health outcomes for Black women across the state.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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